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Avalanche off-day notebook: Bednar may play Byram in Game 5



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OK, so I know many of you are depressed and feeling hopeless right now about the Avalanche. Let’s just take a step back for a moment, though, and take a look at the situation:

It’s a tie series, a best out-of-three series and the Avs have two of the three at home. No, the Avs haven’t looked competitive against Vegas for most of the last eight periods now, but also: as truly terrible as they were, they were five minutes away from winning Game 3. If the Avs can just find a way to get normal production from a couple guys like Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, this series can swing back the other way in a hurry.

Frankly, I’ve always thought this core of Avs players does better when they’re the underdogs, when everyone is writing them off – which is what is happening now among most of the media punditry and oddsmakers, including those at sa gaming. The top players on this team – and the others in the next tier who have been around a while just have not exhibited a great killer instinct. But they usually respond well when everybody is counting them out.

So, Jared Bednar met the media on Zoom this morning, and sounded many of the things he’s said the last two days,, which can be summed up as: “We gotta make things harder on them, we gotta battle harder, we gotta be better with the puck in our own end”, etc. etc.

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Bednar said he is “thinking about” playing Bo Byram in Game 5. Reading between the lines, I think the most likely candidate to come out is Conor Timmins. Why do I think Timmins and not Patrik Nemeth, who is the target of Avs’ fans’ ire right now?

Because Bednar thinks Nemeth is still a good asset on the penalty kill, which has been good for the most part. Bednar said, though, that he’s mindful of how long Byram has been out (March 25) and how little hockey he’s played in the last year and a half. Yeah, that is a worry. But one of the things Bednar said is lacking right now is puck transition out of the D-zone. Byram can be a one-man breakout when things are normal for him.

Then again, Bednar also said Vegas’ big, heavy forecheck is creating problems for the D, that they’ve been “under duress” and Byram is not a big, heavy guy. It’s a calculated risk, putting a Byram in, but I think it’s going to happen. It’s not like the lineup the past two games has given Bednar much to feel good about.

  • The Avs did not practice today. I think that’s a good thing. Time to spend a day away from hockey and relax the mind a bit.
  • I’m expecting the Nazem Kadri second appeal decision to come down any time now. No, I don’t have any indication of what the ruling will be. I think, based on Shyam Das’ history, though, that a reduction in Kadri’s eight-game suspension is likely.
  • Well, maybe “possible” is a better word than likely.
  • So, I was at a memorial service for former Avs GM Pierre Lacroix yesterday. It was held at the Inverness Hotel, and it was a Who’s Who of Avs history. Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, Adam Foote, Ray Bourque, Claude Lemieux, Stephane Yelle – those were just some of the former players there. Stan and Josh Kroenke were there, along with the Avs’ first principal owner, Charlie Lyons.
  • Sakic was there until about 3 p.m., then he left for a nearby private airport and an awaiting jet to get to Vegas in time for the 5:30 local puck drop.
  • It was a very touching service, full of song and private pictures and video of Pierre. His sons, Eric and Martin, spoke eloquently of their father, as did Eric’s son, Max.
  • Patrick Roy and Celine Dion also gave remembrances of Pierre, via video.
  • Claude Lemieux gave a touching tribute to the man he called “Uncle Pete.” He told a funny story of how Lacroix convinced him and his new wife to live just across the street from Pierre, after his trade from the Devils in 1995. Lemieux also was talked into riding with Pierre to the airport and back for most road trips, and he told funny stories of what that was like – including the time Lemieux said he was mad at Lacroix over something and was giving him the silent treatment the whole ride home and how Pierre nearly kicked him out of the car.
  • Roy told a funny story of how, in 1993 after winning the Cup with Montreal, he was given a free trip to Disneyland for friends and family. Lacroix, his agent at the time, came along as well. Roy talked Lacroix into getting on the ride at Space Mountain, and Lacroix apparently thought it was such a terrifying experience that he didn’t have room for dessert that night.
  • Those who knew Pierre well knew how much he loved a good dessert. He had a definite sweet tooth.
  • I still remember how excited Pierre was in telling me where to eat in Montreal, on my first road trip there in 1995. He knew all the best restaurants in town, and the place he told me to go was “Gibby’s” in the old-town part of the city. He said the “chocolate souchard” cake was the thing to order for dessert – and it was.
  • Max Lacroix, by the way, played prep-school hockey in Massachusetts this year. The billet family he stayed with? The Bourque family.
  • Erik Johnson was there too, by the way, and I spoke with him briefly. I don’t think I’m telling tales out of school when I relay that Johnson said he is feeling much better and “getting closer” to a possible return.
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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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Karl Keen

I’m not on the fire Bednar bus. Whatever our game plan in Game 1 worked and we clearly pinched them at the blue line and prevented easy access into our zone. Makar, in particular to me, has not been aggressive enough in attacking them at the blue line and skating backwards. Case in point last night on their 2nd goal. He should have just attacked Stone, but he tried to play both he and Pac and the result was still a goal plus he may screened his own goalie. He needs to pick it up. Bednar has a tough decision… Read more »

Roger Hutton

Don’t understand why Bednar doesn’t install for the Avs what Deboer did for Vegas. Bednar should be smart enough to counter. If it works for Vegas, it should work the Avs. And, the Avs should go to the boards and pound the hell out of the Knights and get them off the puck.

Aaron Hinton

Geez, folks. I’m more disappointed with this fanbase than I am the team. Maybe too many of you are too young to remember the roller coaster ride that both Cups became in ‘96 and ‘01. Do people on this site actually believe they were going to go 16-0 through this adventure? Unbelievable. Have some faith, hope, confidence, whatever moxy you need to see this team through.

Richard Trujillo

The difference is those (the 01 team specifically) made strides to get closer to the Cup every year. Whether it was offseason acquisitions or big moves at the trade deadline. Us fans have seen the Avs get beat the exact same way three (four now?) years in a row by the same type of team and they have done little to nothing to address their roster deficiencies. How many times do we have to watch their finesse, one line style of play get beat every single year before they acquire another legitimate goal scorer to add real scoring depth or… Read more »

Aaron Hinton

I don’t disagree with you, RT…not at all. All are legitimate points. Who, specifically would you want to part ways with as well as bring in if were GM for a day?

Richard Trujillo

I can’t remember who has been available the last few summers outside of Pietrangelo since we are seeing him every night right now but there have been plenty of people who fit what they need that were available. The big problem they have now is they could have afforded some of those expensive contracts over the last few years but with Landeskog and Makar due for contracts they likely missed their opportunity to make a big splash in the summer. No one wants to admit it but the Avs have been in their championship window the last few years and… Read more »

Corrine Hatlen

Adrian, thank you for letting us in on the Lecroix memorial. I wouldn’t like to get the silence treatment from him and wouldn’t be surprised he threatened to kick Lemieux out of a car. But he put together a good team a couple times didn’t he.

Apparently no news from independent arbiter on Kadri as of Monday, 6:50 p.m. MDT. If decision is received by tomorrow morning and if Kadri is then eligible, does Bednar have option to put Kadri in the lineup tomorrow night?


This is the good insider stuff I subscribe for, thank you!


Hockey stories are the best, particulay the ones from the 70’s and 80’s. Those guys were out of control nut cases from what I have heard over the years.

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